Tag Archives: Apple

AppStorm’s Guide to Creating a Podcast Using GarageBand

Mac AppStorm has had, for quite some time, a great tutorial on how to record podcasts with Apple’s GarageBand software. Providing you have a decent microphone, GarageBand should make it fairly easy to record and edit a high-quality podcast.

The iTunes Podcast directory is a tempting offer. Without much effort, you can get your voice out to thousands of people. Of course, if your podcast doesn’t reek of quality (both in terms of content and presentation) no one will pay attention. The content part only you can figure out, but if its quality you want, GarageBand provides an easy solution.

I’m going to show you how to create a technically sound, professional quality podcast that you can share either using an iWeb site, or through any other iTunes compatible RSS feed.

Once you’ve recorded your podcast, you could upload it to Amazon S3 and use a WordPress plugin like PodPress to create an RSS feed that you can submit to iTunes.

Creating a Podcast Using GarageBand [Mac AppStorm]

iAds: Apple Reinvents Mobile Advertising

One of the things Steve Jobs announced in the iPhone OS 4.0 keynote was Apple’s new advertising platform, “iAds.” It’s something I have high hopes for. I think it will promote the development of more free applications.

What’s so special about iAds? For starters, clicking on one of the small banners doesn’t take you out of your application. It just opens an overlay with an HTML5-powered “mini application” from the advertiser, which you can then exit at any time.

The page displayed when you tap an advertisement is very interactive. Video and sound can be streamed to you, freebies like iPhone wallpapers can be downloaded. You can even play little HTML5 games.

Another example Jobs showed-off a few times was using the location tools to help find nearby store or movie theater locations. Imagine clicking a Pizza Hut or Dunkin Donuts ad and having it show you where to find the nearest franchise location.

Continue reading →

Gizmodo and the iPhone 4G: An Example of Unethical Journalism

On April 19th, 2010, the popular tech blog Gizmodo (owned by Gawker Media) published an article, complete with a photo gallery, detailing the specs of the iPhone 4G. The phone Apple is said to release this summer. The one that’s supposed to be a secret, in order to create a whirlwind of hype and anticipation over the next couple of months.

How did Gizmodo get photos of the device, including the internals? Apparently an Apple employee accidentally left it at a bar, and it eventually made it into the tech blog’s hands. (Gizmodo’s account of what happened can be found here.)

The phone, which a few have described as looking “ugly,” is likely a prototype lacking the case the end product will have. Its two metal volume buttons, rather than a single plastic rocker switch, is just one indicator of that. It is incontrovertibly an Apple device, seeing as it has an Apple-made processor, iPhone OS 4.0 and a plastic case designed to disguise it as an iPhone 3G. John Gruber, of Daring Fireball, made some calls and confirmed that Apple was missing a unit. Also, it was remotely erased.

Did Gizmodo do the right thing and return the device to Apple? No. Instead, they posted pictures and other details in an effort to bring in the usual massive traffic spike that an exclusive Apple story guarantees. I’m pretty sure that would be considered theft, as well as leaking trade secrets.

Because of this leak, Apple lost the element of surprise. Their competitors now know what the next iPhone will feature, and they can make plans for their own competing phones. Gizmodo has just painted a big legal target on their collective backs, and I imagine Apple will be launching their missiles any day now.

I really can’t see how Gizmodo is justified in their actions. Did we all want to know what the iPhone 4G would be like? Yes. Did we need to know? No. Did we have a right to know? Absolutely not.

Not only has Apple taken a blow as a result, but an Apple employee could conceivably lose his job. Gizmodo crossed the line separating ethical reporting from unconscionable profit-seeking.

Reeder 2: A Fast, Polished iPhone RSS Reader

Why is it so hard to find a good RSS reader for the iPhone? Sure, there are a few, but not many are as refined as Reeder.

When I first started using Reeder, I thought the interface was pretty good. The only real problem was that Google Reader sync was slow. In version 2, a free upgrade for existing users, that has finally been fixed. It only takes 3-5 seconds to download about 250 unread items. Once that is done, the app starts caching all of the images it can find in the feeds so you can still see them when offline. This takes awhile, but you can still read while it works. (You can turn the feature off if you don’t like it.)

Reeder 2 now offers state-saving functionality, as well. If you exit the app to check your email, Reeder resumes right where you left-off when you come back.

Really, it strikes me as the “Tweetie 2 of RSS readers.” It’s one of the apps that easily earns its spot on page one of my iPod’s home screen.

Now, if only the developer of Newsfire would add Google Reader syncing. Then my feed-reading experience would be excellent.

Apple to Launch a Mobile Ad Platform on April 7th?

There have been some interesting rumors going around in Apple land again. MediaPost is convinced that Apple is going to announce a mobile ad platform called “iAd” on April 7th.

Precise details of the system and its features could not be discerned at presstime (and calls to Apple had not been returned), but it is believed to have been built on top of Quattro, the mobile advertising developer Apple acquired in January for nearly $300 million, and it is expected to be the first real battle of a Silicon Valley Holy War between Apple and arch frenemy Google that is shifting its front line to Madison Avenue.

I know, the idea seemed a little outlandish to me at first, too. After pondering the thought of an Apple ad network for awhile, it started to make sense.

Apple has two devices that are similar, but radically different in their intended usage, and they both are good candidates for an ad network.

The iPad is intended to be a media consumption device. It’s form factor is supposed to make it a device to read magazines, news and books on. With Apple pushing for publications to make their content available on the iPad and iPhone, doesn’t it make sense for them to provide a premium ad network to make the move more profitable for both parties. With a New York Times iPad application, a Wired app, and more on the way, doesn’t it seem like a comprehensive in-app advertising solution would be an attractive deal for publishers?

The iPhone is primarily used on-the-go. Its users pull it out to find nearby restaurants, check movie show times, buy train tickets, or make other informational or monetary transactions one does while out and about. Geolocation could really be a game-changer for some forms of advertising. Suppose you’re looking for a restaurant in the Yelp application. If you’ve enabled the app to have permission to geolocate you, it could forward your location to the Apple ad network and display ads for restaurants nearby.

Apple has a chance to build an ad network that does things differently. If they impose strict guidelines on the advertisers allowed in, so as to be useful to the user while not becoming too intrusive, they could have a hit. How often do you find ads to be useful? If Apple can break that paradigm, they’ll have done something truly revolutionary.

Dayta: The One Week App

Developer Sahil Lavingia built a high-quality iPhone app in only one week, and blogged about it on the One Week App blog. The resulting application is called Dayta.

Dayta is designed to help you log any sort of data set that you wish to track over time. How many miles do you drive between refilling your gas tank? How much money did you spend on iPhone apps last month? Is your World of WarCraft guild improving its raid success ratio? You can create a Dayta log for anything.

You can recall data points by date, or view them on a graph. The charts Dayta generates are simple, and much like Google Analytics in style.

Continue reading →

The iPad Will Find its Niche: My Thoughts on Apple’s Tablet

Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, you’ve almost certainly heard about Apple’s new iPad tablet. The $499 device is essentially a giant iPod Touch, but with a few additional features.

The integrated ebook store (or iBooks, as Apple prefers to call them…) places the device as a competitor to the Kindle, and already they have the support of several major publishers. The form factor makes it perfect for sitting in a chair and reading, whether your content be an ebook or a web page. It also has a version of the iWork suite available that takes advantage of the touch interface.

Already, there are predictions circulating that the device will be a miserable failure. I will tell you now, so we can all look back at this and decide who gets the last laugh, that my forecast is the opposite. Apple knows their market, and the iPad will sell.

Why? Isn’t it just an iPod Touch that doesn’t fit in your pocket?

At a glance, yes. However, each device has its own strengths — and the iPad’s give it a niche that will enable it to carve out a space between the laptop and the smartphone.

Continue reading →

What Will Apple Do With Lala.com?

Apple recently acquired Lala, an interesting music service that promotes the idea of streaming music. Lala lets you sample music from their catalog, and then offers the choice to download songs for $0.79 apiece or purchase the right to stream it as much as you want for ten cents. They also let you upload your music library to their servers, so your entire music library is available for you to stream online at any time.

What’s Apple going to do with their acquisition? It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to guess that.

Imagine iTunes, but with the features of Lala built in.

iTunes + Lala

Another idea is that we might be seeing a browser-based version of iTunes in the future, as part of the “merge Lala into iTunes” idea. This would make is possible to listen to, and purchase, music on a computer where you can’t install iTunes.

Apple isn’t the type of company to split themselves over more than one brand, and I can’t see them shutting down Lala, so it just seems inevitable that the two services will eventually be consolidated.

Coming Soon From Atebits: Tweetie 2.0

TweetieAs I’ve mentioned a few times before, Atebits’ Tweetie for Mac is my favorite desktop Twitter client. (And many people also enjoy the $2.99 Tweetie iPhone application from the same developer.)

What has developer Loren Brichter been doing in the wake of the applications’ popularity? Writing Tweetie 2.0, of course! Tweetie 2 for iPhone is nearing it’s release, and Tweetie 2 for Mac is in the works as well.

At the same time I knew that Tweetie 1.x could only go so far. Like the original Mac OS, it blended an intuitiveness with a well rounded set of features. But the “core” needed to be replaced. Not one to rest on my laurels, I started Project Bigbird, which was a new Twitter “core” meant to last.

What is hoped to be the final beta of the new Tweetie for iPhone has been sent to Apple for approval. It includes the “Project Bigbird” core that has been built into Tweetie for Mac since its beginning. It only works on OS 3.0+, as it has plenty of new features, some of which make use of APIs added in OS 3.x.

Continue reading →

Safari 4 Downloaded 11 Million Times in First Three Days

Apple announced last Friday that Safari 4 has been downloaded over 11 million times in the first three days since it left beta.

CUPERTINO, California—June 12, 2009—Apple® today announced that more than 11 million copies of Safari® 4 have been downloaded in the first three days of its release, including more than six million downloads of Safari for Windows.

More than half of the downloads were from Windows users. Isn’t that interesting? And no, they were not pushed through some sort of automatic update. I had to manually download the new version of Safari for my MacBook, and it’s not yet on either of the Windows-based machines that I administrate.

In contrast, Google Chrome nearly had 2 million US downloads in it’s first week (no word of the full numbers), and Firefox 3 had over 18 million.